About this project
UPDATE 1/15/13: 100% and Counting!
We are absolutely floored, flabbergasted, and flattered by the support we've seen in the first week of this campaign. We've already hit our goal and the backers keep pouring in. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We sincerely and deeply appreciate your contributions and your encouragement.
Any additional funds beyond our original goal are delicious, delicious gravy, which we will use responsibly and awesomely to make this album an even better experience for everyone. Our budget is pretty tight, so bonus funds will allow us more studio time, better pay to auxiliary musicians, and a sweeter album release party.
We are Shannon & Stephen, and we need your help. Over the past year, we've been writing and performing songs under the guise of PepperJill & Jack, and now we want to make an album.
To create a high-quality, highly-enjoyable album of nine original songs.
WHERE WE'RE AT
The songs are written. We've been performing and tweaking them over the past several months, and we're feeling pretty great about what they've become. One of our songs even garnered a world record. Curious? Check out our YouTube channel to see some live performances.
In early December 2012, we approached a friend with a studio and spent a (long) day recording exactly one song. Happy with the results and the experience, we began preparing for a lengthier project.
We carefully made plans for how to best record our songs. Stephen, using his background as a classically-trained musician (read: enormous geek), has written arrangements for supplementary instruments to join us.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Albums cost money. The studio time, the sound engineer, the editing, the additional musicians. All of these expenses are part of making a professional-sounding recording, and they make a huge difference. Take a listen for yourself:
Your contributions help turn this, a concert-performance recording:
...into this, a studio-mixed, strings-enhanced recording:
Shannon has applied her stage managing smarts to create a detailed budget and schedule for recording. We know what we want to do, we know who we want to do it with, and we have a calculated estimate of time and expenses. All we need is your help to make it happen.
IMPORTANT DETAIL: KickStarter is "All or Nothing" fundraising. In other words, if we don't make our goal by the time the campaign ends, all the pledges are refunded and we don't get any of the money. No album, no nothin'. Everyone goes home empty-handed. So pledge! And make sure your friends do, too!
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU
In addition to a warm fuzzy feeling inside and our undying gratitude, your pledges earn you rewards. Depending on your level of support, you'll get anything from a hand-written thank-you note to a full-blown concert and dinner in your home. Regardless of what you can afford to pledge, we hope you'll feel properly appreciated for your contributions. Take a look at the column on your right for a detailed list of what you can get.
HEY LOOK, A SONG!
"DORK FOR YOU"
Heaven forbid we should get this far without giving some idea of the stuff we like to write. This is, of course, just one example of what we do. Other songs have different styles, different instrumentations, different themes. We are, as they say, hard to pigeonhole. For a broader sense of what we do, go poke around our YouTube channel for more live performances.
STEPHEN BENT (SONGWRITER, TROMBONE, GUITAR, PIANO, UKULELE, VOCALS) is a very tall fellow, but friendly (think James Stewart, not Bill O'Reilly). Raised near Seattle, he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he studied trombone, guitar, voice, conducting, and gender inequity. After successfully auditioning for the Flying Karamazov Brothers, he moved to New York City and has since been enjoying an active career as a musician, juggler, and performer. Life with the FKB's has taken him to performances in Los Angeles, New York, London, Spain, Italy, Israel, and elsewhere. Stephen also works regularly as a musician around New York City, where he fosters a deep love for vocal music of all kinds. A member of an embarrassingly large number of choirs, he has been seen singing in Carnegie Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and incessantly at his living room piano. He is thrilled to be writing and performing as half of PepperJill & Jack.
SHANNON O'NEIL (SONGWRITER, UKULELE, VOCALS) is a native Californian infamous among friends for speaking her own language compiled mostly of muppet noises and many made up words. (They'll catch on one day!) She grew up singing in the shower a lot, as well as in church choir and in community theater. When she auditioned for a cappella groups in college and didn't make the cut, she started her own and was the president/musical director of the Mixtapes at NYU for 4 years. After that, she took a bit of a break from music, and is thrilled to have found a companion who makes her sing a lot more than even she thought she wanted to. She is a proud NYC resident, having lived there for the past 10 years. Shannon works as a stage manager for various theater companies, primarily Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Making music is the gravy, the icing on the cake, the spice of life, and PepperJill & Jack has been a truly life-altering exercise. She is excited to see where it goes, and hopes you enjoy the ride too!
MARK ETTINGER (SOUND ENGINEERING / BASS): Mark is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. He and Stephen, longtime co-conspirators with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, have collaborated on many songs and juggling routines, including a high-speed hip-hop summary of Romeo & Juliet. In addition to his work as a composer of operas and musical theater, Mark has recorded and released two albums of original songs. His recently-completed, self-constructed recording studio on the Upper West Side of New York City will be the site of our album's creation.
BILL HARE (MIXING / MASTERING): A recipient of multiple (more than one!) Grammy awards, Bill also happens to have been a chaperone for Shannon's high school church choir, and one of the nicest guys you'll meet. We are super excited to have him lend us his expert ear to make this album the real deal with a polished high quality touch.
THE ASTORIA SYMPHONIC CHOIR (ADDITIONAL VOCALS): A wonderful group of singers in our neighborhood, directed by maestro Adam Eggleston. Both Stephen and Shannon proudly claim membership in this ensemble, which will be joining us on a handful of tracks for backup vocals and jubilant chorus sing-alongs. ASC was kind enough to allow us to make our debut performance in their "Shakespeare in Song" concert last March, and we deeply appreciate of all the support and friendship they've shown us.
BEN WASSON (DRUMS): Ben studied percussion at Portland State University, and is among the grooviest groovers we've ever known. Stephen and Ben toured together with the New Old time Chautauqua, making music all over the Pacific Northwest. We're lucky enough to snag him between gigs in Portland, where he plays in the folk-rock band Wildish.
BEN RYDELL (TRUMPET): Since graduating with honors at CCM in Cincinnati, Ben has wowed cruise ship audiences with his trumpet and flugelhorn. After he and Stephen performed Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" together at a church in NYC, they discovered that they were neighbors, shared a train ride home, and ate tasty chicken at a neighborhood joint. More delicious discoveries to come!
DANIEL CONSTANT (VIOLIN): Daniel and Stephen toured China together with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony last winter, performing in major concert halls in Beijing, Qingdao, Dalian, Chaoyang, Jinzhou, Shenzhen, Shenyang and Xi'an.
SAM BENT (CELLO): Sam is a rabid multi-instrumentalist, having performed extensively on piano, cello, and percussion. With the Rainier Symphony he appeared as the piano soloist for Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue". Sam is also a Very Nice Guy, a Big Know-It-All, and Stephen's Dad.
Sure, we know we're great, but don't take our word for it. Check out the praise heaped on us by recent concert attendees:
Thanks for looking through our page and considering backing PepperJill & Jack. We couldn't do this without your help, and we'll do our absolute best to make sure you feel properly appreciated. Once you become a backer, you'll receive occasional messages from us, updating you about our progress and reminding you of how wonderful you are for helping us make it happen. Hooray!
IF WE EXCEED OUR GOAL: If, by some miracle, we are lucky enough to earn more than our goal, please don't feel discouraged from being a part of this project. Our budget and schedule are relatively tight, and any additional funds would give us a bit more breathing room. More money means more time in the studio and a greater ability to more adequately compensate our musicians. We promise to put all funds to good use!
(Now go click "Back This Project"!)
Risks and challenges
We'd like to think that we're about as well-prepared for this endeavor as two people can be. Many, many hours of prep work have gone in already, including detailing schedules, consulting with music industry veterans, and extensive live performance. We've dotted our T's, crossed our I's, and...uh-oh.
Okay, so things go wrong now and then, and we're ready to accept them as they come. What if the saxophonist doesn't show up? What if we get sick the day we're supposed to record the vocals? There's an infinite number of things that could go wrong, but we promise to handle them with patience, diligence, and pragmatism. If and when we encounter challenges, we'll assess them and figure out the most practical solution. One major advantage we hold is that the studio engineer is a local friend, which means if we have to take a break to address problems, we can do so at our leisure and return to the studio when we're ready. We'll keep you, the supporters, in the loop as we progress, and we promise to finish with a quality product, come hell or high water.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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